Posts Tagged ‘Inflammation’
Today’s column is a response to the first health related question that was posed to me in 2013. During a recent consultation, a client inquired about the relative merits of an antioxidant compound commonly known as alpha lipoic acid. She noted that it’s frequently cited as one of the more potent antioxidants because it supposedly works in concert with other free radical scavengers such as glutathione and vitamins C and E. A recent review in Frontiers in Ethnopharmacology, a prestigious medical journal, supports this claim and details various others functions of a-lipoic acid including its ability to: a) chelate heavy metals; b) lower systemic inflammation; c) regulate gene expression; d) repair damaged proteins in the body.
Tags: Alpha Lipoic Acid, Eyes, Inflammation
Posted in Diabetes, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 10 Comments
The start of winter may not seem like the ideal time to recommend eating cold soup. But, in the case of gazpacho, a traditional Spanish soup, I simply can’t wait for the warmer days of spring or summer to sing its praises. My urgency is, in part, due to a recently published study appearing in Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, the prestigious medical journal. A secondary reason is that current and prior research on gazpacho helps to prove a theory that I’ve long held: Drinking raw, blended vegetables is a wonderfully healthful practice, especially if you add some good fat to the mix.
Tags: Antioxidants, Carotenoids, Inflammation
Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Nutrition | No Comments;
Last week I had the good fortune of visiting Venice, Italy for the very first time. Along the way, I snapped countless photographs to share with family and friends. And, as I consider you all a part of my circle of family and friends, I’d like to take this opportunity to share several highlights from time away from home: The Doge’s Palace; The Pigeons of Piazza San Marco; Fresh Melon and Prosciutto; The Venice Film Festival; Stormy Venice Flag. While in Venice, one of the details I noticed each morning at breakfast was an assortment of jams and pastries featuring bilberries. For those who don’t already know, European bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) are closely related to huckleberries and wild blueberries indigenous to North America.
Tags: Berries, Heart Health, Inflammation
Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Nutritional Supplements | 5 Comments
Those living with chronic pain frequently turn to over-the-counter NSAIDs or nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs for acute or long term symptom management. As expected, this approach generally makes day to day living more tolerable. However, there can be steep consequences to pay for the temporary relief these medications provide. Adverse reactions ranging from compromised bone healing to damage to the gastrointestinal tract have been attributed to regular NSAID use. In fact, the concern about the side effect profiles of NSAIDs is so profound that drug companies themselves are scrambling to find ways to minimize the downsides of this popular class of drugs. Some pharmaceutical manufacturers are even going so far as to combine NSAIDs with natural agents (dietary fiber, lactoferrin and probiotics) that may allow for these synthetic antiinflammatory agents to work in a safer manner.
Tags: Inflammation, Massage, Pain
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Interviews | No Comments;
The November-December edition of the journal Pain Research and Management describes a sad state of affairs that many patients and physicians are frustratingly aware of: “Despite many recent advances in the past 40 years in the understanding of pain mechanisms, and in pain diagnosis and management, considerable gaps in knowledge remain, with chronic pain present in epidemic proportions in most countries.” An underutilized resource known as trigger point therapy may very well help fill some of these noted gaps. And, there’s nobody better to address this potential avenue of healing and recovery than Valerie DeLaune, LAc.
Tags: Acupuncture, Inflammation, Pain
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Interviews | 6 Comments
In preparation for my upcoming trip to Mexico, I’ve been reviewing both modern and traditional applications of medicinal plants that are indigenous to the region. During the course of my research, an interesting and unexpected pattern emerged. Some of the most popular home remedies used in Mexico are finding new homes throughout the world. By that, I mean that scientists spanning Australia to England and even India are taking note of herbal medicines such as aloe vera, nettle (Urtica dioica) and passionflower (Passiflora incarnata).
Tags: Gingivitis, Inflammation, Sleep
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 4 Comments
Next week I’ll be taking my work on the road. More specifically, I’ll head down south to Mexico for a fact finding mission and informational exchange. One of the planned areas of discussion will focus on an edible cactus commonly known as nopal or nopales, as diabetes and prediabetic conditions (i.e. metabolic syndrome) are quickly reaching an epidemic level in Mexico. Nopales, when eaten as a part of one’s daily diet, may offer a valuable tool in turning the diabetes tide in Mexico and beyond.
Tags: Fiber, Inflammation, Metabolic Syndrome
Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 6 Comments
It’s unusual for a dietary supplement to have more than twenty studies to support its use, while at the same time being relatively unknown in most parts of the world. However, this is precisely the case for an obscure Japanese product known as fermented papaya preparation or FPP. In essence, this nutraceutical is an extract of the common papaya fruit that is fermented using edible yeast strains. The resulting product is a mildly sweet powder that is typically promoted as a nutritional aid for supporting healthy aging and immune function.
Tags: aging, Inflammation, Liver
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Diabetes, Nutritional Supplements | No Comments;
One of my current passions is to seek out the best-of-the-best fruits and encourage my clients, family and friends to eat more of them. By “best-of-the-best”, I mean fruits that offer a major upside and little, if any, downside. This is sometimes embodied in fruits that are high in fiber and/or nutrient dense. Other times, the fruits in question are superlative reservoirs of health promoting, but non-nutritive phytochemicals. And, of course, these fruits should also be appropriate for anyone mindful of their blood sugar and weight. After all, in my opinion, the majority of us would do well to eat as though we were at risk for diabetes and overweight.
Tags: Cherries, Inflammation, Sleep
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 2 Comments
A recent publication in the American Journal of Cardiology called into question the safety of high dose Vitamin D supplementation. In the paper, researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine investigated a proposed link between Vitamin D levels and an inflammatory protein (CRP) which is considered a risk factor for heart disease. Their conclusions report that levels of D below 21 ng/ml are associated with higher CRP or C-reactive protein. This determination came as no surprise. However, participants with Vitamin D concentrations significantly above 21 ng/ml also demonstrated elevated or undesirable CRP readings. The lead author of the piece, Dr. Muhammad Amer, stated that “Clearly vitamin D is important for your heart health, especially if you have low blood levels of vitamin D. It reduces cardiovascular inflammation and atherosclerosis, and may reduce mortality, but it appears that at some point it can be too much of a good thing.”
Tags: Diabetes, Inflammation, Vitamin D
Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 4 Comments
Whether you know it or not, you’ve probably consumed astaxanthin at one point or another in your life. Arctic shrimp and wild salmon are among the most common dietary sources of this crimson colored carotenoid. But, these days you’re also likely to find astaxanthin in everything from multivitamins to sports drinks. In many instances, it’s included as a way of increasing the antioxidant content of functional foods and nutritional supplements. Other times, its primary purpose is to act as natural preservative for delicate fatty acids such as those contained in fish or krill oil.
Tags: Astaxanthin, Immune, Inflammation
Posted in General Health, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 5 Comments
These days, many people are looking for practical ways to eat healthier while saving money at the same time. Preparing snacks at home works towards both objectives. Whether you’re traveling or at work, trail mix is an easy to prepare and nutritious treat to keep on hand. My homemade trail mix recipe calls for only five ingredients – Brazil nuts (1 oz), walnuts (1 oz), dried cranberries (1 Tbs), dark chocolate chips (15 grams or 16 chips) and coconut flakes (1 Tbs). Not only does this make for a delicious and satisfying mix of savory and sweet elements, but it may also improve your well being in the following ways: a) Brazil nuts can lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, triglycerides and support healthier circulation; b) walnuts have recently been shown to improve a particular form of cognitive functioning known as “inferential verbal reasoning”; c) cranberries blunt blood sugar and insulin response when eaten with other carbohydrates, including sugar; d) dark chocolate is capable of lowering systemic inflammation which has been linked to a wide array of conditions ranging from cardiovascular disease to chronic fatigue syndrome; e) according to a recent scientific review, coconut possesses “antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitic, antidermatophytic, antioxidant, hypoglycemic, hepatoprotective and immunostimulant” properties.
Tags: Cholesterol, Inflammation, Nuts
Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Recipes | 2 Comments
There are a great many diseases and disorders that come mind when pondering the topic of inflammation. Typically, depression isn’t included in that rather lengthy list. A new review compiled by researchers from the Emory University School of Medicine postulates that there’s reasonable cause to do so. The authors of the paper note that “individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) demonstrate increased levels of a variety of peripheral inflammatory biomarkers”. If this emerging theory is justified, how can patients and physicians use this information to help alleviate poor mood states? One of the most promising, natural candidates is fish oil. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish, namely DHA and EPA, are known to decrease pro-inflammatory cytokines present in a variety of diseases, including arthritis. What’s more, reducing inflammation via fish oil supplementation has recently been shown to blunt stress-induced anxiety. But, supplementing with just any fish oil may not be the optimal approach. A recent meta-analysis in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry recommends looking for omega-3 supplements that contain a minimum of 60% EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). A daily dosage of up to 2,200 mg of EPA daily is also singled out as important. A separate review from August 2011 revealed similar findings with respect to fish oil therapy in those with bipolar disorder or manic depression. This is not to say that DHA or docosahexaenoic acid is not significant or valuable in it’s own right. For instance, a current study appearing in the British Journal of Nutrition cites that while EPA-rich fish oil was more effective at reducing depressive symptoms, DHA-rich fish oil alone improved cognitive performance (verbal fluency) and “self-reported physical health” in a group of seniors. Even with all of this encouraging scientific data, it still may be too soon for many conventional psychiatrists to recommend EPA to depressed patients. However, because of fish oil’s other health benefits and relative safety, I would argue that it’s worth considering prior to any future mainstream consensus.
Tags: Depression, Fish Oil, Inflammation
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 3 Comments
Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that asthma rates are on the rise although pollution and second hand smoke exposure is declining. According to data collected in 2009, approximately 25 million Americans are now living with this inflammatory lung condition which causes coughing fits, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest and wheezing. What’s more, no age or ethnic group is immune to this trend. However, those without medical insurance are more at risk because the typical price tag associated with conventional asthma treatment rings in at over $3,200 per person/year. This explains why roughly 40% of uninsured asthma patients report that they’re unable to buy the prescription medications needed to address their symptoms. (1) Read more »
Tags: asthma, Curcumin, Inflammation
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Children's Health | 3 Comments
Experts in various fields, including medicine, take part in continuing education courses on a regular basis. The aim of these post-university classes and seminars is to inform professionals about the newest and most relevant developments in their areas of expertise. I hope to do the very same thing here. Except in this case, my aim is to provide breaking news and research about natural medicine that will allow you to stand head and shoulders above most other health care consumers. And then, of course, I’m counting on you to share what you’ve learned with anyone who will listen.
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Tags: Allergies, Inflammation, Pregnancy
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutrition, Women's Health | 8 Comments
Every so often a news story is promoted that questions fundamental beliefs about good nutrition. I used the word “promoted” purposefully. If there’s a health related press release that is likely to be controversial or sensational, it generally moves to the front of the line for consideration. Take for example the recent publicity surrounding a study that supposedly found that eating a “big breakfast” increases daily caloric intake rather than lowering it. Previous inquiries have reported that starting the day off with a hearty breakfast is probably one of the best ways to ensure better subsequent food selection and a healthier weight. So the fact that one study refutes this widely held opinion can be big news.
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Tags: Breakfast, Heart Health, Inflammation
Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 5 Comments